A traffic accident inside me

IT’S 3am.

I am staring at the ceiling but I can’t see it. The darkness that streams in at the moonless window is much more comprehensive than light. Beside me my wife sleeps the sleep of the innocent.

Which is unfair, because she’s not, but that’s another story.

Inside me there has been a traffic accident. The strawberries have hit my lower intestine and I suspect there is carnage everywhere.

I didn’t know strawberries could do that. Strawberries are the food the gods eat.

We went over to a friend’s place and the food was superb.

Strawberries and cream to finish. I thought I was safe.

Cheese has become the enemy. I knew that; and wine is now a midnight assassin.

Beef festers inside me like the carcass of a dead cow – which is what it is, I suppose. But I’m talking a whole cow!

But strawberries?

I knew growing old was going to have its drawbacks but I didn’t realise that, one by one, it was going to withdraw life’s pleasures.

And not just withdraw them, but replace them with malicious alternatives, like waking at 3am with your digestive tract being processed in a grinder.

Is this happening everywhere? If you could pass over all the homes of the Gold Coast would you discover there were several thousand pairs of eyes cleaving the darkness, wondering where it will all end?

Would their wives be lying beside them, blissfully ignorant of the fact that, though the world is at peace in the night, there are terrorists in our entrails?

It began with onions.

I used to love raw onions. I still love raw onions, but they have returned my devotion by creating the bowels of hell within me. It was either give up onions or give up all social contact.

Then came nuts. Not satisfied with the curse of onions, which make your digestion unattractive to third parties, the fates cursed me with nuts, which have made my digestion unattractive even to me.

Then came wine and red meat, cheese and variety of vegetables. I’ll soon be living on tinned baby food.

And another thing: why is it always 3am? Why can’t it wait until 6am which, if not exactly a civilised hour to rise, is at least not the middle of the night?

It doesn’t matter when I eat, my digestive enzymes always take their revenge at 3am.

I could form a club. we could ring each other at 3am and swap notes on digestive tracts; offer prizes for the latest and most unusual impediment to a good night’s sleep.

The way I’m going I’ll be world champion. It’s getting so sleeping pills would wake me at 3am.

I thought about waking my wife, but I did that at 2am. It didn’t go down very well. She was less than sympathetic.

“Strawberries,” I told her. “You wouldn’t credit it, would you?”

“With cream. And sugar. And four helping. You poured brandy on them. Go to sleep.”

“But I can’t go to sleep. That’s the point.”

“I’ll show you.”

And she did.

The strawberries are doing line dancing in my stomach. I think they’ve been drinking. Brandy, probably.

The dark is impenetrable.

I think I’ll get up and see what’s in the fridge.